In late June and early July, the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s Championship took place just 55 miles from Gettysburg in Towson, Maryland. While Team USA emerged victorious after defeating Canada in the gold medal match, former Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse All-American and national champion Steph Colson ’19 was proudly representing her family heritage and her alma mater by competing for Italy.
Colson was one of the most dominant players in collegiate lacrosse when she wore the orange and blue and continued that prowess on the world stage. Over the course of the tournament, Colson was one of the event’s top scorer, rattling off eight goals in her second game and tallying the game-winning goal in overtime against Norway. She finished tied for the team lead in both goals (24) and points (27) and ranked third in the tournament with 48 draw controls, including 11 in the final contest against the Netherlands.
Colson and Italy just missed the championship bracket and finished 18th overall in the 28-team field. Colson, who was the 2018 NCAA Division III Player of the Year and led Gettysburg to national championships in 2017 and 2018, was proud of Italy’s accomplishments, but she was more excited about the opportunity to play a part in the growth of the sport on a global scale.
The native of Westminster, Maryland, who graduated with a degree in health sciences and minored in education, was joined at the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship by her younger sister Lizzie, a midfielder on Team USA.
The elder Colson looked back on the experience and shared how Gettysburg helped her seek out new opportunities to grow and compete at home and abroad:
What have you pursued since graduating from Gettysburg?
After graduating, I started coaching and working for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I then went on to get my master’s in public health at the University of Nottingham in England, where I studied, lived, and worked for almost two years. I have always had a love for travel and meeting new people. When I heard about the chance to continue my education, meet new people, and travel for a year, I was immediately drawn to it and wanted to take the leap.
“Gettysburg allows us to really take chances and see what gives us energy and joy before pursuing it.”
Why did you try out for the Italian National Team?
I decided to try out for the Italian National Team in August of 2021. I contacted the team and was invited for a tryout. It was a great opportunity to be a part of a team again. I have always loved being a part of a team and this was a chance to meet new people, travel, and be a part of the sport that has been so instrumental in my life.
I was so excited to be a part of the Italian women’s team and representing the amazing country in the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship. I was extremely proud to be able to represent a country that is so important to my family. My grandparents are Italian and I was just happy and blessed to be able to play in honor of them and my family. I couldn’t wait to meet the team and get to be a part of something that includes the whole world.
How did playing lacrosse at Gettysburg prepare you for this moment?
I wasn’t really intimidated to compete on the world stage because, while I wanted to win and for Italy to do well, this experience was about growing the game, playing for fun and for my family, and being a part of something so big. My time at Gettysburg prepared me because I felt I was able to compete at a high level and to be dynamic. I was able to pull in all my past experiences of performing on a stage and working with people in different ways based on their experiences and backgrounds.
What did you enjoy most about playing against different countries?
Playing against teams from different countries was my favorite part of the competition. We exchanged pins before the game and got to talk in the dorms and before and after the games. It was incredible to see how the sport of lacrosse has brought everyone together and just continues to grow. The biggest differences in competing were understanding how to work with people that had different lacrosse backgrounds and styles of play. In America, you get a very specific style of play.
What were your favorite moments from the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship?
I will always remember singing the National Anthem on the field and listening to other countries sing their national anthems. It was a very proud and powerful moment. I loved the opening ceremonies and seeing all the teams together after years of training and playing to make it to that place. One night, we had a team dinner and got to play spike ball against Ireland. It’s things like that that made the experience so great.
With your sister competing for Team USA, how was the experience all the more memorable for you and your family?
My family are such superstars. They went to every game and were our biggest supporters. This was kind of my family’s “last hoorah” for lacrosse and team sports. It was very cool that they were watching us play on a stage with amazing people and for countries that are so near and dear to our hearts.
How did Gettysburg College set you up for all you’ve achieved thus far?
Gettysburg has given me endless experiences from allowing me to study abroad during my junior year to instilling hard work and dedication in my play and in my professional life, and to encouraging me to say yes to opportunities that come my way. Gettysburg allows us to really take chances and see what gives us energy and joy before pursuing it.
What’s ahead for you?
I will be teaching and coaching for Episcopal High School in Texas this coming year. I would like to continue traveling and taking chances as they come. Who knows what is in store next! Long term, I would love to work for a nonprofit and open my own café, but who knows what will happen!
By Corey Jewart
Photos courtesy of Steph Colson’ 19 and World Lacrosse